•  Posted in: Kogaionon Interviews

Salutes to you Andy! As I've understood from our latest discussion, the work on your projects WINDS and AGE OF SILENCE is not completed yet but close to that point though, still you cannot share us fresh news about them for now. So, to put it in your words, we'll leave those issues to be just "Imaginary Directions of Time" and I'll solely invite you to let me spot some "Reflections of the I" regarding both your entity and mind.

Nature... definitely is an essential theme for WINDS as your music configures a eulogy to it! In which ways do you get caressed and fascinated within Nature? Do you have particular interests in what concerns our beautiful host, the Earth and solar system, celestial realm?


I have always appreciated nature, but I am not an avid nature lover in the sense that I spend a lot of time walking in the mountains, etc. Unfortunately I don't have the kind of lifestyle where I have time for that sort of thing. I wish I did, but I don't. I guess that's ok, because it makes it all the more special when I eventually do get to enjoy nature's finest. I am very fascinated by the earth and solar system in general, and this is also reflected in the theme of WINDS of course. The lyrics in WINDS are sometimes like a cosmic voyage inside my mind.

Winter. does this season gratify you in any special way? Which are the resonances snow time bring to you? Do you feel more inner challenged towards creation and closer to your Self during Winter?


As ironic as it may sound, I really hate the winter season. I hate the cold, and I hate the snow. I am very happy about the fact that I live somewhere where it very rarely snows, maybe just for a week per year at the most. I used to live in southern California for three years and I really liked the climate there, except for in the middle of the summer when it was just too hot. But now I miss that aspect of it because where I live now it's a bit colder, although nothing like the Norwegian winter season. The only times I can really enjoy winter and snow is if it's temporary and I know I won't be stuck in it for too long at a time. In Norway the winter would freak me out sometimes and I really hated that part of living there. So you can safely say that Andy Winter is really a Summer person. Maybe I should change my name to Andy Summer in stead. That's the ongoing joke among a lot of my friends at least!

WINDS is a superb materialization of music! In an image of completion, Carl's guitar solos and strings are made of fire, Lars's voice veils and commands the ether, Jan Axel's rhythms thrones over earthly vibes and beats, while your piano parts, are alike water, grasping everywhere and shaping everything. Yet now, WINDS transcends towards an upper dimension, including among other elements, the feminine voice of Agnete Kirkevag, alongside the guest performances of Dan Swano, Lars Nedland, Oystein Moe. Which is your general feeling regarding the result so far with the fourth WINDS?


I never considered that elemental way of looking at WINDS before but I certainly see your point there. I am also very excited and can't wait until the new album is completed. It's a bit of a milestone actually, as we've been working on it since before we released the last one, so it has been over three years in the making. The guest appearances were just icing on the cake this time around, but the four of us in the band have outdone ourselves in all ways possible. So my feeling about it is great and this is something I'm really looking forward to. I'm looking forward to getting it out there so people can listen to it.


Premonition... Can you define me what does it mean for you, any examples for its occurrence? Did it had anything to do in what concerns the next WINDS work, in the choice of guests like Dan Swano, Agnete Kirkevag, Lars Nedland, Oystein Moe and experimenting a distinct approach? Via the statements you've made so far I could spot that you all are fully satisfied with the choices...Which were the reactions so far regarding the fourth work?


Before we did this album I knew it would be different, and we have made some choices, like including some female vocals, etc. This was done because it was suitable for the music on the new album. I'm also very happy we could have Dan and Lars join us on this one and their performances, although fairly short, have been an excellent addition. Agnete and Oystein have larger parts on the album, as everyone will soon hear. They are almost like our two new members on this one, even though of course WINDS is still us four in the essence of things. I'm very thankful for everyone who contributed on it, and I had never known ahead of time how great it was going to be. I'm talking strictly from a personal experience here, because I'm always careful trying to claim things like "this is the best album we ever did" and so on. Those words have no meaning anymore as they are overused clichés by every band releasing an album. I even discussed this when talking to Lazare asking about the new SOLEFALD, I said "is it better than the previous one" and his reply was "of course, it always is." I can of course say that for me, this is the best and most complete work of WINDS so far. Even so, I don't know if this will be the opinions of others, and I also don't think it really matters because everyone in the band thinks so. The reactions from the guests have also been great, and I know Agnete said in an interview that what she had heard of it was amazing. Lars and Dan only heard the song they were on, so they don't know much. Oystein has heard everything and liked it a lot.



An important part of the recordings for the fourth WINDS release took part during last Winter, using an old timber church as the location for string session, while the vocal ones were made in Asgeir Mickelson's studio, Multimono. Different locations, certain guests involved both in the string and vocal sessions... How did you experience this process compared with the ones on the previous albums?


I think there is a lot to be said for experience, and we had the experience this time of having recorded strings twice before, which made it less stressful in and of itself. What made it more stressful was the fact that we recorded it "on location" instead of in a studio. We utilized the services of Norwegian producer-legend Truls Birkeland, and his help was absolutely priceless in this part. As far as the choice for using Asgeir's studio, it was out of convenience. It is located really close to my childhood home in Norway, so since that's where Lars and I were staying, it was the logical choice. Asgeir was not in the studio with us either, so we just rented it and did everything ourselves. This is his personal studio, so it's not a commercial studio as such. But it helps to know people and have good friends to exchange favors from. So the process was really ideal, and although the last time it also worked out great in the studio, this time was more relaxing except for the fact that we almost ran out of time during the string recordings as usual. It looked pretty scary for a while, but we managed to complete everything.


Light involves darkness, penumbra obliges to scrupulous quest, confusion incites towards clarity, diversity and dispersion urges harmony and completion. WINDS certainly unveils these aspects, it's a beautiful expression of wandering through infinite realms! What gratifies you the most in WINDS?


For me it's being able to create profound music with a deeper meaning than a lot of music you hear on the radio, etc. It's not about communicating a message or anything, but just about expressing your art in a medium that you are comfortable with. I could become a writer and write poetry instead, or I could write instrumental classical music without lyrics. But combining the two creates a more powerful medium as I can put moods (the music) to my lyrics, and at the same time create images (with words) to my compositions. This is the gratifying experience about it. It's not about the publicity, recognition, respect, record sales, etc. All of that doesn't matter to me.



The lyrical concept in WINDS is truly superb, you certainly have a beautiful way of wielding words, more over you succeed into creating a continuance of music via poetry. Please tell me how this path of creation emerges, is there a particular phase when you start writing the lyrics, is it solely your contribution or you are working along with Lars in order to reach the completion between musical and lyrical concepts?


Well, since I write the lyrics exclusively and most of the music as well, I can tailor the music to the lyrics and vice versa. Lately I have written music first and then lyrics, but sometimes opposite. I always keep this in mind, and I have full control over the lyrics, in other words no other members in the band have any input on it what so ever. What Lars and I work together on is the vocal arrangements, and the delivery of the vocal lines, in other words the melodies that he will sing. Carl even has ideas here. As far as writing the music, so far this has come very easy to me. Writing lyrics is more difficult and takes a lot more effort. It's not an easy process. I can sit for hours and not write more than one sentence. Sometimes you have these moments where things open up and start to flow. That's when most of the lyrics are written. But it's not something that comes easy to me, unlike the music.


"Shades of light through black and white" brought a classical piano approach that has certainly disappointed several admirers of yours, expecting a more distinct scent in your work. How have you perceived the feedback regarding this release?


It has been a very low key thing, limited edition, very little media coverage, etc. But the response that has arrived has been good. Which I also expected, since I knew that those who are interested in what I do, would be able to appreciate it for what it is. It was perhaps in hindsight a bit short and I wish I had done a full length album instead of an EP, but that's all I had time for, and the idea behind the release itself sort of came out of the need and desperation of doing something different, and also for the fact that I hadn't released anything in a while so I was getting anxious to do something again since I knew WINDS and AGE OF SILENCE would not be finished for a very long time. So it was something I took time to do in between.


Visions of perfection... How does Andy Winter defines and heads towards personal completion? Besides music, what is essential for your self actualization?


I live a very secluded life, and I only surround myself with a very few people. This is how I prefer it as I don't necessarily have the need to socialize a lot or be around a lot of people. I wish I had more free time on my hands but that's not in the cards for me right now. I would have to quit doing music if that was going to happen, which I'm not ready to do quite yet. Maybe one day, who knows, but for now I feel like I still have projects I want to accomplish. I'm very happy in my personal life and I have the best possible situation that anyone could ask for. I'm very lucky.



Desolation...What does it sound like and consist in your life? How do you perceive humanity nowadays, what's the greatest threat from your point of view?


This is difficult to answer for me because if you look at the world and politics, etc, you can certainly see a lot of threats in the world. But then again the world has never been stable, and probably never will be. I try to not concern myself too much with society or world politics. I am in the right sense of the word, a pragmatist.


Moments of reflection... In a world of non-senses have you find your sense? Do you believe in the existence of ancestral inheritance, of a particular "soul of the folk", creating inner anchors to a specific common way of perceiving the world, of acting in it, of approaching the existence for the individuals sharing the same geographical-cultural-historical area, distinct from the others? How did you experience the transition from Norway to American lands, which were the unpleasant and disappointing aspects, and what gratified you?


The one thing I know is that I want to live life experiencing different things. I would not want to live my life in the same place I grew up and not know anything else. So I like to travel a lot, and move around a lot. I have always been this way. As such I always knew I would leave Norway and move abroad. The only difference is that most Norwegian born people eventually return to Norway. I can say for a fact that I never will. I am done with that chapter of my life. From here on, I will want to move to different places, but probably never back to anywhere else. Life in general is not too different no matter where you are, because your outlook on it is what makes it different. Even so, I think the only way to find out where you belong is to uproot yourself once in a while and don't become too complacent. If you get stuck in one place, you lose out.


The final end... Do you believe in life after death? Is there fate? What comes beyond fate?


These are one of the many things I'm trying to explore through my lyrics. When I find the answer I will let you know, or you will read about it in a future WINDS release. WINDS is my personal quest for knowledge of the universe.



Infinity... What is it to you? If eternity means atemporality, not infinite time, some could say that everlasting is the one living always the very present. How would you describe yourself, are you living more in time or hic et nunc?


I would not say that I am more towards one or the other. I always try to live in the moment and enjoy what I have in the now, but there is also a part of me that lives for tomorrow. I guess the balance is what makes it right for me, and that I can find harmony between the extremes.


I can't wait to get to listen to the new WINDS, so please feed my passion's quest and reason's desire and tell me when shall it be released.


You will have the chance to do so in MMVII. Hopefully first half, but one never knows. I hope to have it completed as soon as possible but I'm taking my time, as everything is now in my hands and I don't feel like rushing the process due to the fact that I want to let all the material sink in before making several decisions that have to be made before the album is mixed. So time is not important, but perfection on the other hand is. That is, perfection in my own image.


Thank you Andy. Enjoy the Winter!


Thank you and same to you. Let's hope it doesn't last...


November, 2006